Autosomal DNA Testing

Autosomal DNA Testing
As DNA consultant for Clan Forrester several folks ask me about autosomal testing. An autosomal test will help identify relatives from both sides of one’s parentage. Which company you choose for testing is dependent on your goals. Raw data from most major testing companies can be uploaded to for comparison at no charge for upload of raw data.

If you have a cloud repository of your family tree such as or my heritage, I suggest having your test with that company. This enables you to link your autosomal results with your family tree.

If you want information concerning gene association with certain diseases or characteristic traits, I suggest 23&me. 23&me also offers Y DNA haplogroup for males to major branches 0f the haplotree. The health information is not considered medical grade and is not intended to replace tests from your medical professional. A chromosome browser is offered which allows for investigation of overlapping and triangulating shared M segments.

FTDNA also offers autosomal testing but no health information and no major Y DNA haplogroup for males. This requires a separate Y test. There is a chromosome browser and a gedcom of family tree can be posted. has no chromosome browser. They offer health information for a monthly fee. They do not offer major Y DNA haplogroup for male testers. If you have an ancestry account, I still suggest having their autosomal test. Ancestry has been very successful and probably has the largest autosomal database in the world.

Their latest innovation is called Thru Lines. This is based on their database of autosomal results and gedcom comparison. This replaces their former DNA circles. This is because not everyone who is 3rd cousin or greater will necessarily triangulate with everyone else. This is because everyone’s autosomal recombination is unique to the individual. For example, I may triangulate with two other known cousins, but not with another cousin with a paper trail to a common ancestor. That cousin will triangulate with at least two other individuals in the group.

Just because they do not have triangulating segments with me does not mean they are not my relatives.

Ancestry does with Thru Lines what we do in comparison at This requires a bit of experience to make triangulated connections. For the novice tester or someone with little time to dedicate to comparison Thru Lines is a great advantage. Keep in mind these connections are only from ancestry’s database. There is still a need for the services at to connect with cousins employing other autosomal testing companies.


Nathan E. Forrister
Clan Forrester
DNA Consultant